Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

Tips for Improving Guest Experience in the Bakery

Pick up some new tricks for engaging your customers this season.

The holidays can mean a hike in business for retailers, including food service.

Customers want to be treated well where they pay money, but there are unique ways that every industry can best cater to their patrons. I’ve worked in a few bakeries and have picked up on what keeps customers coming back every time.

Here are some tips for bakeries and other food service businesses to try implementing this season.

1. Be prepared to provide customers with all the information they need.

Communication is always key, but this is especially true when customers are working around diets, allergies, and other restrictions. Consumers may be shopping for a whole host of people during this time of the year, so they may come with lots of questions.

An easy way to get customers the information they need is to provide relevant information on labels and signage. A clear list of ingredients or possible allergens, as well as whether something falls into a particular dietary lifestyle (vegan products, for example) are always helpful.

Training employees to be knowledgeable is also critical.

It’s hard for one person to have all the answers, of course. Providing employees with information sheets is a good way to prepare them for customer questions in case there’s something they might forget.

2. Encourage customers to try new things.

There are many ways to go about this.

Offering free samples is a great way to promote new or unpopular products. While buying something new can feel like a scary investment, if customers know exactly what they’re getting, they’ll be more likely to buy.

A sampling effort by Snack Factory recorded that at least a quarter of people who tried their product went on to purchase it.

Sampling comes with other benefits, too, like garnering attention and improving customer relations.

Another way to encourage customers to try a new product is to offer a lenient return policy (enjoy it, or your money back!).

Though making such an offer can feel like giving away free product, it’ll help build trust with your customers, and they’ll feel better about trying new items that may not be selling well otherwise.

3. Provide convenient ordering.

Online ordering has made buying food much more convenient for many people, whether that means being able to order ahead from the comfort of home or to skipping the lines in store. An easy-to-navigate website, digital forms, and QR code menus are all great ways to go about this.

Offering online ordering isn’t the only way to make things easier for customers, though.

Simplifying the process of placing orders in-store, and having staff available and prepared to help, is an excellent method for making customers feel wanted and cared for. Knowledgeable and friendly staff make all the difference here.

4. Offer custom orders.

Giving patrons the option to place custom orders makes them feel like valued customers. People appreciate being able to get exactly what they want, and it improves engagement.

Additionally, it can increase sales by broadening your business’s reach to customers who may have otherwise not seen what they were looking for and moved on. In this way, custom orders can also be a good gauge of what your customer base really wants.

Plus, when customers are satisfied with their custom order, they’ll be more likely to come back for your other products.

Emphasizing the guest experience will help you surpass your competition. Customers want to go where they feel most welcomed and valued, and applying these tips to your business will achieve that feeling.

Use the holiday to your advantage and give your customers what they want.